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Monday, March 18, 2013
MMTA SYNTHFEST 2013: Dave Bristow & The History of Yamaha FM Synthesis
Published on Mar 18, 2013 matrixsynth·271 videos
This is a fascinating and significant bit of synthesizer history starting with the Yamaha CS80 through the DX7 from the man that was actually there. Yamaha hired Dave Bristow to showcase the Yamaha CS80 followed by asking him to provide input on their first FM synth the GS1. It was sold as a preset synth but in the video you will see a programmer for it. Dave was the person that Yamaha had program the presets for it followed by the GS2, DX7 and more. You'll see the prototype for what became the DX7. The prototype actually had a DX5 label and a huge breadboard of chips. He co-authored "FM Theory and Applications" with Dr. John Chowing, the man that discovered FM synthesis at Stanford Unniversity, and he was a member of IRCAM. Do not miss this. Bookmark it for when you have time if you need to. Dave also had a prototype SY77 at the event. You can see it in my video walkthrough as well as my event pics here. An interesting side note is John Bowen was at the event, so we had both the man responsible for the presets on the Prophet-5 and other early Sequential Circuits synths, and the man behind the DX7 and other Yamaha FM presets. Pretty incredible bit of synth history there.
Dave Bristow is part of the Music Technology group at Shoreline Community College where the MMTA Spring SYNTHFEST was held. Via Shoreline:
"Dave Bristow was born in London and began to study music on the piano at an early age. He graduated from university with a BSc in Psychology but soon turned his musical talents full-time and worked as a professional piano/keyboard player with jazz fusion, rock and folk bands. His interest in electronic music and sound steered him towards synthesizer design and development and he played a key role creating factory voicing for the well-known DX7 synthesizer and indeed most of Yamaha's FM synthesizers up to and including the SY99, and is internationally recognized as one of the important contributors to the development and voicing of FM synthesis, co-authoring a text-book on the subject with Dr John Chowning called "FM Theory and Applications". Dave has toured the world as a professional synth demonstrator teaching courses on synthesis and related acoustics in Europe and the USA. He spent three years at Pierre Boulez's music research institute, IRCAM in Paris, running a MIDI and synthesis studio and working with the visiting composers. He moved to the United States in 1995 to work with the electronic music company Emu Systems, Inc. in product development with sampling and filter based synthesizers. Following that in 2002, he began working again with Yamaha as a consultant, focusing on the introduction and support of their small format audio chip series (SMAF) for cell-phones and other mobile devices with ringtones and system sounds. More recently he ran and developed a non-profit community music school for four years on Bainbridge Island, and now spends his time teaching electronic music production and synthesis, and playing with his jazz trio."